17 September 2012
The week after the Paralympics was slightly lacking in glory
after such an exciting summer, but - despite the setting in of
Autumn - we at the Octopus Comms office have been enjoying looking
fondly back at our favourite picture perfect moments of London 2012
Having met David Weir a few years ago, I am a huge fan. An amazing
athlete and a genuinely really nice bloke!
@philcorfan : Mine
is being in the stadium to see Richard Whitehead overtake pretty
much everyone to win the 200m. He then went properly nuts when
celebrating as well, which is always nice.
: I found the high jump one of the most incredible events of
the games - the athletes defied belief, it was just amazing!
Another great choice from @wonky_donky -
wheelchair rugby is a truly memorable sport: I don't think
anyone would previously have associated 'brutal' with Paralympians,
but that's what some of them were. I can't remember who it was, but
it was well summed up by one competitor replying to a question
about the bumps and scrapes with "when you've broken your neck, you
don't worry about getting bashed - how much worse could it
@MissBarry For me it
has to be the moment David Weir crossed the line in the 5000m - I
lost my voice and I burst with pride in the Olympic Stadium :)
There was lots of love in the room for this champion; @stevelspencer also
chose this moment, saying 'David Weir winning 5,000m gold was one
of my highlights. This pic captures the energy and outburst of
emotion after years of hard work.'
Steve also captured the awe of the feats achieved in the
Paralympics with these contributions - unbelievable!
The top choice for @zoebevis was this
In fact, Jonnie turned out to be quite a favourite across the
Peacock crossing the finishing line was favourite moment, both for
his greatness and his hotness'
All the office revelled in this moment!
We also loved the star-studded Closing Ceremony...
@gg_hart London, take
a bow! Great show to close off a fantastic Paralympics.
What a fortnight!
Do share you best memories of the Games with us below!
London 2012, Sport, Paralympics, Games, memory | 1 comment
13 September 2012
Having worked in several different sectors of PR I think I'm
justified in saying I've paid my dues. From dancing with a rapping
cow all day in a field, to nights in the office late enough to
justify ordering breakfast… I've been there; written the pitch. But
working on more taxing campaigns just makes it all the
sweeter when such great projects comes along. Cue Cisco's BIG Awards.
When we began work on the British Innovation Gateway
(BIG) campaign - Cisco's legacy piece as the Official Network
Infrastructure Supporter of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic
Games - we were clear on one point: we wanted to use Cisco's
position as an industry leader to inspire, discover and nurture
tech talent in the UK.
We live in a time of extraordinary technological advancement and
outstanding innovation. But there have been grumbles about how few
of the big ticket ideas come from the UK compared to our American
pals across the pond. We're a clever bunch, and Britain's
technology legacy is rich - the phone, the television, the WORLD
WIDE WEB - but there seems to be a limit sometimes to the level we
push ourselves to achieve. Tweetdeck, yes; Twitter, no. So what do
we do to bridge this gap?
We set out to find the unsung heroes of the UK tech scene by
launching a five year awards programme which tied into the wider
BIG campaign. The Cisco team was clear on one point when we began
planning the Cisco BIG Awards: a cash prize alone was not enough.
Feedback from SMEs over the years indicated that money is all well
and good, but without expert advice, mentoring and resources it
will only carry you so far. So Cisco lined up some tremendous
partners to help make the Cisco BIG Awards as beneficial to the
winner as possible - Bird & Bird, DNX and even us here at
Octopus will join Cisco to deliver legal, PR, digital and industry
mentoring, in addition to the cash prize.
The level of entry - as clichéd as it may sound - was
exceptional. This was compounded by Dragons' Den style
presentations by the six finalists last night at Cisco House. There
were some real 'oh I wish I'd thought of that' moments and the
judging panel - which included our very own Octopus MD, Jon Lonsdale - had a hard
task it must be said, but in the end three really stood out.
The winner in particular is AMAZING. Snap Fashion allows
users to search for clothing items via a visual search engine -
simply take a photograph of something you've seen or an item you
own and the app will scan more than 110 UK fashion retailers to
find a match. Impressive stuff. Runners up included Digital Shadows, a
clever cyber protection tool, and Six3, a very slick video
It's been a pleasure to work on this campaign and to meet all
the entrants - and we're excited to start working with Snap Fashion
very soon! With more projects like this, with more corporate buy in
and support, I'm sure the UK will be back on top of the tech map in
cisco, Technology, Innovation, London 2012, Olympics, Cisco BIG awards, SME, start-ups, Paralympics, Britain, UK, mentoring, fashion, Dragons' Den | 2 comments
09 August 2012
Well, what can we say? So far, the London 2012 Olympic
Games has been outstanding and Team GB has knocked the socks off
our expectations! It's been raining gold, silver and bronze and has
been quite a show to watch.
So - we've been having a little think here at Octopus Towers
about what moments of London 2012 stick out for us so far, and
here's just a few that cropped up:
Mo Farah winning the 10,000. I was with him every step and
cried like a baby when he crossed the line to take gold - @emvicw
Usain Bolt's 'lightning' impression after winning the 100m -
really sticks in my mind as it's so uplifting, if a bit showy
Without a doubt, *that* Saturday night in
the Olympic Stadium when GB won three gold medals - @stevelspencer
When German discus thrower Robert Harting celebrated winning
gold by ripping off his shirt and running around the track like an
absolute boss - @Joemjohnston
Mo Farah winning the 10k - I literally had goosebumps and
even now when I think about it I get all emotional! - @Kelrams
'WE'RE GOING TO BE ON A STAMP!' - @1katiepotts
interview with Bert Le Clos - @stephendssmith
I loved the men's team gymnastics. I had no idea that Team
GB were so strong - Dan Purvis and Kristian Thomas in particular
have some moves! - @rebeccataylorpr
Team GB Show jumpers winning gold - which managed to
transform the office into a crowd of equestrian
Also the *attempted* BBC interview with 15
year old Lithuanian swimmer Ruta Meilutyte after she won gold in
100m breaststroke, where (she was so overcome she couldn't even
speak! - @kellyannsmith3
Jess Ennis winning Gold - she is an amazing athlete and role
model for the future generation, and in my mind, represents
everything that is great about Britain! - @Lauraslade
Finding the show jumping 'jump off' oddly fascinating - who
knew that ponies larking around over gates could be so utterly
compelling and nerve wracking? - @wonky_donky
What about you? What's had you screaming or laughing out loud at
your TV? Let us know in the comments - we'd love to hear from
London 2012 | 1 comment
19 April 2012
Yesterday marked a huge milestone in the countdown to
the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games - only 100 days left
I don't know about you, but here at the Octopus Group, we are
getting more than a little bit excited about this historic event
hitting our capital city, and we'll certainly be making the most of
it across the Group.
Now that the Games are within touching distance, businesses
across the UK are provided with an ideal platform to introduce an
employee engagement strategy that may have been lacking before, or
to support what they already have in place. We might not all
be able to attend the London 2012 Olympic Games, but that doesn't
mean you can't bring a little Olympic team spirit into the work
place to celebrate together does it?
We are all busy people, and if you're part of a bigger team at
work, you may struggle to even get to see or speak to them all that
often - I mean, that's what email and social media are for
Wrong! We are all important assets to the businesses that we
work for and the upcoming Games provide us with the perfect excuse
to get together as a team and bring back a sense of community.
Whether you are interested in sport or not, there are so many
great and affordable ways that you can get involved in team
activities. Take us here at Octopus Towers for example - amongst
other things, we've created a dedicated taskforce to make sure
everyone can get involved somehow. We'll have the Games streamed
live in our offices to make sure we don't miss any exciting Team GB
action, we'll be keeping everyone up to date with regular Olympic
breaking news, stats and facts AND (we couldn't let this
opportunity go by without a little bit of cake action now could
we?) we'll be holding the Great Olympic Bake Off!
Let's not forget that the Olympic torch is also going to be
making its way across the
UK before reaching London, so even if your work place is based
outside of the Capital - why not take an hour or so to go and watch
the Torch pass through your local area? We'll certainly be lining
the streets of Windsor and Southwark to take in the Olympic
excitement! Maybe we'll see you there... J
Events like this don't come around too often, so make the most
of it and get involved!
, London 2012, Octopus Group | Leave comment
10 February 2012
As I approach the official London 2012 white
water course in my private minibus I focus my mind on the task
ahead. Today I will be tackling the Olympic white water rafting
course and, with a gold medal in my sights, I know I'm going to
have to bring my A-game.
I look out across the water, the bright sunshine streaming
across the, as yet, untouched course. In final preparation for the
morning's activities I lift the apple custard Danish pastry to my
mouth and gobble it down in record time. I have a feeling it's
going to be a record breaking day.
The clock strikes 9:00 and my team mates begin to arrive; BBC
News Online, London Metro, ITN, Computer Weekly, Computing, Data
Centre Management, thedatachain - we're like Team GB, only better.
Then in walks our captain, Tim Brabants.
Olympian, gold medallist, Cisco ambassador and emergency room
doctor (I know, right?!), this is just the man to lead our motley
crew to glory.
Unfortunately, we're not quite Olympic ready… not yet. We are in
fact all gathered for a Cisco press event to learn about how, as
official network infrastructure provider, it plans to ensure the
integrity of the network for London 2012. The men
delivering the presentation are so intrinsic to the running of the
Olympic Games I can't even name them. So, you know, pretty standard
We spend an hour learning about just how mind-blowingly
intricate and awesome the London 2012 network is going to be.
80,000 connections across 94 locations, 65,000 active network ports
and over 20,000 hours of network testing before the Games even
begin! Then, brain-workout complete, we head downstairs for the
first of our physical tests - getting into our wetsuits (and
subsequently breathing in for two hours).
Exhausted, we step out into the courtyard to meet our
instructor. A few safety instructions later and we are ready to hit
the water. Observing the universal rule of not looking below the
waist of a person in a wetsuit, we all walk toward the course,
looking skywards, feet squelching in our damp booties. I imagine
this is just like the Olympics.
On the water our first task is to row forwards. We nail it.
Unfortunately, there is more than one stroke to learn… but after
rowing in circles for a few minutes we have a quick race with Tim
(we win) and then find the start of the course. This is it. We
practice our paddle high fives and then we're off..!
If the ocean is a fickle mistress, then truly the rapids are her
rabid, feral children. We are thrown about, spun, flipped, splashed
and soaked. We scream, laugh, choke and splutter. And then disaster
- the water gets the best of us and we are flung from our vessel
with dramatic force.
If you had told me a month ago that almost drowning journalists
and clients would make for such a great day out I'd have laughed in
your face. However, it turns out swallowing all the water in the
River Lee and scrambling over one another to get to the shore is
the BEST fun. PRs, journalists and Cisco execs bonded and happy, we
all walk into the sunset, safe in the knowledge we could probably
achieve a gold medal if we really wanted to…
, cisco, London 2012, Olympics, Tim Brabants | 1 comment
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